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Waiting to plant, but spraying in progress

iStock/Getty Images spraying farm field
Rain, snow, cold hamper efforts to get seed into the ground. Maybe next week?

We are in a holding pattern. Even though it rained a tenth or two and snowed some this week, we are still pretty dry. Now we’re cold as well. I haven’t even checked to see what the soil temps are. Maybe we’ll plant next week - now the third week in a row I’ve said that!

I did spray one load Monday morning. I hope it works! There was some sunshine in the morning, and it did make it up to the lower 50s. ‘Contact’ herbicides require a growing plant so that the chemistry is absorbed. We will see what happens… hopefully the weeds were receptive. I sprayed some areas of a field that we usually can’t get across until later in the spring, which shows how dry it is. I can count on one hand the number I times I’ve sprayed this tract in April. In fact, we never took the time to change the sprayer to the floater tires. I’ve sprayed all spring with my ‘skinnys’ on.

The good news is that we have probably had enough moisture to spread and activate the chemistry we have sprayed. Residual herbicides usually have to have a quarter to half an inch to activate. Unlike the contact killers, these herbicides have to be in the soil and absorbed by roots and shoots as weeds germinate and begin to grow. Rain also helps wash the herbicide off residue on the soil surface and into the root zone where it is needed. Spraying 10 to 20 gallons per acre really isn’t all that much, it doesn’t even look as though the ground has been wetted after a field is sprayed.

We received our last load of chemistry products Wednesday. This is a full month beyond our delivery deadline. Supply line issues continue to cause problems on a daily basis. Some of our plant food products are still outstanding. We have had to change vendors in order to receive other products. It’s starting to feel like the toilet paper shortage of 2020. Hoarders are driving prices up.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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